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Wedding Budget – How To Save Money On The Important Stuff

Wedding Budget – How To Save Money On The Important Stuff

Your wedding day is one of the pivotal experiences of your life. It is an event that you and your family will remember and reference for ever more. For this reason people tend to put some of their frugalities to the side when it comes to wedding planning. For many it simply feels worth it to splash out on this once-in-a-lifetime experience. But does that mean you have to spend a small fortune?

It is very possible to decide upon a budget and stick to it when you are planning your big day. Your budget will depend on so many factors. Your salary, commitments in the coming months, family dynamic and personal preferences. For example – many people choose to get married abroad for sentimental (or weather) reasons. It is often a cheaper way of getting married believe it or not.  Check out the below blog for some tips on getting married abroad.

Here are some top tips for saving money on the important stuff 

1. The Dress.

Wedding Dj Ireland

We know how important your wedding dress is but there are a number of ways to find a beautiful dress and save a few pennys at the same time. Research bridal outlets and the designers they stock. Do some homework and decipher when the next season line is to be unveiled. At this time there is a good chance that older seasons will have a reduced price. You can also enquire about buying a floor sample which is a lot more common than you might think. Just inspect it carefully before you hand your money over. 

2. Invites & Place Cards

It might surprise you at just how much money could be spent on a mere invite and the card that marks where an individual will sit. Who knew you even had to budget for these things? There are so many ways of creatively making your own invites and place cards. You can buy discounted sets on crafty websites like or you can pick up some inexpensive supplies at your local arts and crafts store. Sometimes less is more.

3. Wedding Flowers

Choosing local and seasonal flowers makes all the difference. Local means you will spend less on transport costs and seasonal means that you will get the freshest flowers for your money. Choose larger statement flowers as they will be vibrant, beautiful and you will need less of them. 

4. The Wedding Music

Wedding dj Ireland

This is a BIG one. Many people think that it is a simple case of hiring a band for the post-ceremony and post-dinner part of the event. Evening entertainment is often the only thing on ones mind. However, when it comes to the actual wedding planning it can suddenly feel very overwhelming. There are a lot of other elements of the wedding celebration that require music. The wedding ceremony (many of which are happening in venues/outdoor rather than a church), the drinks reception, the wedding “walk-in”, dinner and then the evening entertainment. If you hire different people or arrangements to do these things separately it will become overwhelmingly expensive. These days a lot of couples are hiring a professional wedding DJ who can do it all. It means less stress as you are dealing with one person throughout the planning stages and it works out significantly cheaper to hire one person to do it all. A wedding DJ is equipped and trained in providing appropriate and individual music for all of the musical options at your wedding. It’s a no-brainer for many couples. 

5. The Wedding Meal

Many couples specifically choose a venue that allows for outside catering. This gives you the option to research and fine-tune the perfect dining option that will please your guests and your budget. Many couples are now looking outside the box and offer buffet-style options above a sit-down dinner. Some even hire a food truck. Do it your way and get the most out of your money. 

Irish Weddings Home And Abroad

Getting Married in Ireland and Living Abroad

Wedding Dj Ireland

So you’re living abroad and coming back to the Emerald Isle for your Wedding Day? There really is no place like home when it comes to the biggest celebration of your relationship and love. To exchange vows and nuptials in the country you love the most is a magical experience.

You might be one of the thousands of Irish people who left the country in search of work opportunities. Or maybe a little holiday soon turned in to a longer holiday when you met that special someone. Whatever the reason, you’ve now found yourself happily engaged and wanting to get married back in Ireland.

For some of you the decision will have been as clear as day. Getting married in Ireland might be a no-brainer if you are both originally from there.

If your partner is not from Ireland then chances are the decision was a lot more complex. But now that everyone is happy and on board you want to make sure that your wedding is all kinds of amazing. Perhaps your partner’s family will travel to your home country to experience an Irish wedding and you want it to completely blow their minds. You also want to achieve it without having a nervous breakdown.

The most important thing about planning a wedding from a different country is communication. You will be doing a great deal of the planning in an online capacity and in many cases it starts with an email enquiry. If a potential vendor replies in a negative way or if the communication has been unreliable then it’s more than likely a sign of things to come. It is incredibly important to choose someone who makes you feel comfortable, confident and reassured.

Reading testimonials or taking recommendations from people you trust is a great place to start.

Meeting a potential vendor is a really good idea too. If you are planning a quick trip home then why not make some time to meet and discuss your plans. You will leave Ireland feeling confident in your choices and the service providers you have secured.

Irelands best wedding DJ

Getting Married Abroad, Living In Ireland

On the flip side you may be one of the many Irish people who dream about getting married abroad. European Cities and destinations like Ibiza and France are extremely popular among Irish couples for a wedding away from home.

Communication is another really important factor here. Language barriers can pose some difficulties but in 2018 there are some really great platforms and routes that can be taken to give you the wedding of your dreams abroad.

Ensuring that you have secured the perfect venue, food, drinks and clothing are some of the most important decisions to be made. We have the luxury of choice in this day and age and with weddings abroad becoming more and more popular it is becoming increasingly easier to plan a wedding remotely from your computer or phone.

Music is a non-negotiable for many couples who plan to wed abroad. Something that is going to provide the most important backdrop for their big day requires the right person for the job.

There are a myriad of options when it comes to hiring a local DJ or musician in the country that you hope to marry in. It can feel overwhelming and impossible to know where to start.

But what if your music needs are specific to an Irish audience? You’re marrying your soul mate in beautiful surroundings. You are dressed for a beautiful day of sunshine and the local food is the stuff of dreams. But you also happen to want to hear Maniac 2000 and The Green And Red Of Mayo. Your guests have took the time to travel to your wedding abroad. You want to give them something special. You want to share something unforgettable with the special people in your life who have made the effort to attend your big day.

Your Pinterest boards are awash with scenes containing vineyards and picturesque backdrops but your mind cannot imagine a wedding that does not involve joining the entire party for a recreation of River dance.

Have you considered bringing an Irish DJ with you for your big day? Believe it or not this is very normal practice these days. People simply are not willing to cut corners when it comes to their wedding entertainment. They want to be able to put their time and energy in to the aesthetic aspects of the day, confident in the knowledge that someone will provide the perfect musical ambiance for the occasion.

Bringing a trusted Irish Wedding DJ to your wedding abroad is extremely cost effective too. A cheap Ryanair flight and cheep and cheerful hotel can be organized in minutes. It’s cutting out a huge amount of the stress and injecting something really authentic and “Irish” in to your wonderful day.

A great Irish wedding DJ will have done this many times. They’ll have had the pleasure of entertaining thousands of wedding guests over the years in a variety of cities and countries. Their passion is ensuring that your wedding guests experience a day like no other. They take the time to provide a unique and special arrangement of music that will make your wedding day feel like home away from home.


Check out my testimonials right here. You can enquire today and I will be more than happy to chat with you about the music that will provide the magical spark that you and your wedding guests will never forget.

Your Big Day – The Research And Preparations That Are Paramount

Your Big Day – The Research And Preparations That Are Paramount

When we hear the words “wedding planning” we automatically think about research. If a couple declare that they have officially started planning their wedding then you can be sure that they are doing everything in their power to ensure that they are securing the most suitable products and services for a day that deserves nothing short of perfection.

But how does one even begin researching each important service and element? And at what point is a decision made and an agreement made? Furthermore – how is an agreement made?

Friends & Family

Word of mouth is perhaps the most reliable source for any couple who are soon to wed. A testimonial or introduction from a person that you trust is worth it's weight in gold. They will be able to tell you, from the horses mouth, about the ups, downs and everything in between. They absolutely won't put you wrong. They may recommend a Wedding DJ who made their day extremely special. Imagine securing that service knowing that the recommendation came from a trusted friend rather than a paid advertising campaign that pointed you in it's direction. One is steeped in truth while the other is a business contract aimed at advertising a service to you.

Wedding Locations

While you are researching and visiting different wedding ceremony and reception locations you can absolutely look for their opinion and advice about certain vendors and companies. After all, they are dealing with them on a professional level every day of the week. They will be quick to declare any obvious negatives and a testimonial or recommendation will come naturally should they genuinely know a suitable option for you and your big day.

The Internet

This is where the majority of your research will take place. It is also the very first impression we get of a company or vendor. Is their enquiry procedure straight forward? Is there a testimonial section on their website? Did you find the initial email or phone contact with them a positive experience? If little care and consideration was given to their first contact with you then chances are they do not regard communication as something overly important. When planning your wedding communication is of vital importance for you and everyone involved.

Secure That Booking

When you have decided on a vendor you must then secure the booking. These services are usually booked significantly in advance and therefore usually require some kind of deposit to officially secure it for you. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the next step in the experience. When will you hear from the vendor again? What do they need from you? Do they have any advice for you at this point other than securing the date with them? You want to make sure that the booking experience is a positive and uplifting one rather than one steeped in uncertainty.

It Really Is The Little Things

When all major wedding activities and elements are booked and secured it might be time to plan for the unexpected. One of the most important days of your life is bound to have the odd hiccup or too. For this reason it is advisable to have a little Emergency Survival Kit. Little touches that will make a huge difference to the experience of your guests. This is a day they will remember and refer to for years to come – let's make it a seamless one.

1. Tool Kit

You might consider a little tool kit for your big day? A little bag that is left with a trusted guest. It might contain spare pins for the corsages, a needle and thread in the event of any clothing disasters and some chalk to neatly clean up any scuff marks that may appear on your all important wedding dress (works a treat and does not damage the dress). A little bag of tools that will give you some extra reassurance in case an issue arises.

2. Toilet Kit

On a day where everyone wants to look and feel their best it might be a nice idea to leave a toilet kit in the male and female bathrooms. Little touches like deodorant, chewing gum, plasters and hair clips will make a big difference to some of your guests that didn't consider for a second that they might have needed these things throughout the day/night.

3. Special Extras

Have you thought about some extra touches that might brighten up the day of your wonderful guests? Flip Flops for sore feet (the dance floor has been full all night – you've made a great choice with your wedding DJ) and maybe luxurious treats like Cigars for the grooms party and a shawl or cardigan for the bridal party. They'll never forget it.

The Wedding Planning Secret That Will Save You A Lot Of Money...

The Wedding Planning Secret That Will Save You A Lot Of Money...

You Do Not Need A Wedding Band


Every single element of planning a wedding carries it's own stress. Anxiety and worry comes from every single angle and to be brutally honest many couples can find it an extremely stressful experience. There are a lot of people to please and pay for. Every couple dreams about a day that ticks all the boxes and naturally in the most cost effective way possible. Weddings are expensive and it can be difficult to know where to draw the line, cut corners or make sacrifices. The best day of your life has genuine potential to put you in debt for longer than you would like to think about.

Being money-savvy when it comes down to your wedding planning is nothing to be embarrassed about. A world where money is no object would be truly magical but it's just not the case for the majority of us. Shopping around for the best deal is completely normal and every single saving ads up. Certain venues have better offers off-peak or mid week. Discount codes can be used on props and extras. Dresses can be bought during sale periods. These are smart things to do and your future self will thank you.


Saving money on your wedding entertainment could actually be a lot simpler than you might have anticipated. Have you considered choosing a great Wedding DJ INSTEAD of a band? Because this is fast becoming the norm for Irish couples who are due to wed.

Booking a great Wedding DJ instead of a band is becoming the preferred option for many couples in recent years and it's easy to see why. When it comes to a wedding band there may be four or five members that come together seven nights a week to entertain wedding couples across Ireland. Four, Five and sometimes more members have to make their way to venues across the country. They must also transport their instruments, sound system, amps and lights. Thousands of euros of equipment, expenses and transport costs. An oblivion of expenses and 4+ members who need to be paid. Hence the astronomical fee that a wedding band requires for your booking. Thousands upon Thousands of Euro for their wedding set at your wedding.

Wedding Dj Ireland

In 2017 the trend has shown many couples are opting out of the wedding band scene and focusing on finding a great Wedding DJ instead. This generation of soon-to-be-wed couples are passionate about music and specific in their requests and desires. They want more than the generic wedding set that is offered to them. The same set that is played seven nights each week at events across Ireland. They crave something unique. Something special. They are also cost conscious and want value for money when it comes to paying for their wedding entertainment.


This is where booking a great Wedding DJ comes in. A really good Wedding DJ has the ability to navigate their way through the wedding based on the specific vibe,

mood and guest preferences. They look upon the wedding as a unique and very special experience rather than ticking a box for the evening. This is a person who knows, appreciates and understands the music from their own generation as well as all of the other decades. It is, in fact, their obsession. Getting it “right” at your wedding is what they live for. Moving with the night and changing the music choices according to the crowd's reaction is thrilling. A wedding band may have formerly been a pub band and there is nothing wrong with that but their set is their set. The crowd's reaction will not change the set.

It's time to get value for money when it comes to your wedding entertainment. Choose a great wedding DJ and get a unique and professional entertainment package for a fraction of the cost. In 2017 a wedding band is absolutely not a necessity.

Testimonial From A Wedding In Dublin, September 2017.

“One of my friends said to me that I can't NOT have a band for the wedding. That same friend text me a few days later raving about Darragh O' Dea. He's not like some of the other “wedding djs” with an ipod, he knows his stuff! Seriously he is so good. He knew how to gauge the (very mixed) crowd perfectly. In the lead up to the wedding I was worried about people not dancing! Well I was worrying for nothing!  I really enjoyed the music and Darragh really put us at ease. We had spoken to him a lot in the run up the day so I felt like I already knew him by the time I finally met him. He is such a nice guy.

I would 1 million percent recommend him. Thanks so much again Darragh”

Choosing The Right Wedding Entertainment

Wedding DJ Ireland

Let's face it, your wedding day is going to be one of the most pivotal experiences of your life. It is a day where all that is important to you in this world unites to celebrate you, your life and the future you hope to create. This is a big deal.

While the hope is that the entire day will be remembered fondly for years to come by every guest, a couple of things tend to take centre stage in people's memories. “The” Dress, The Food And The Entertainment. When it comes to choosing these things it really does require a deep level of consideration.

Entertainment is the poignant backdrop to your special day. It is the very reason why it's perfectly acceptable for people who never met before your wedding to spend a solid hour dancing together. Music unites people. Music speaks more than any word possibly could. It speaks to your soul and helps it sing.

When your guests discuss the entertainment at your wedding you want it to be for the right reasons. A great wedding DJ will require very little work from you. It is their profession and their talent to create the ambiance and atmosphere that you want to provide for your guests. Their skill is deciphering the appropriate music and tone for each unique wedding. Their craft is recognising and understanding the kind of music that the guests and wedding party will appreciate.

When choosing the perfect wedding DJ or band for your wedding there are a number of things you can do to make the process easier.

1. Research

Wedding Entertainer

Speak to the DJ or band at a wedding or function you are a guest at. If you love what they are doing then that is a very good indication that they will be able to please your guests equally as well!

2. Time

Prioritise the entertainment booking and remember that great wedding DJs and bands will find themselves booked up for long periods of time. As soon as you've made your decision act quickly and confidently to secure them!

3. Ask Questions

You are enquiring about a professional service. Feel confident when asking for references as a great DJ or wedding band will provide them with pride. Do some online research and where possible try to physically see the DJ or band play a couple of times. Remember that every wedding or function is unique. A great DJ or band will alter everything to meet the requirements and dreams of the specific couple. It is NOT a general thing, but rather a very unique experience.

4. Knowledge

Ensure that the DJ or Band have the knowledge and expertise that will make your experience stress-free and enjoyable. You are paying for a service which requires skill, knowledge and confidence. Experience will shine through. Don't settle for anything less.

5. Confirm And Record

Confirm all times, music preferences and any additional services that you may require from the DJ or band at your wedding. Securely pay the deposit and confirm everything by email so that a paper trail is established and easy to access should any issues arise.

Irelands Best Wedding DJ

A great Wedding DJ or band will live for the compliments that come with happy guests. The “I never danced so much” comments are profoundly important. Their skills and expertise should confidently showcase this throughout the wedding. They thrive on reading the crowd, knowing how to shift a tone or mood and making people smile, laugh, dance and LIVE in the company of the wonderful couple they are celebrating.

As a wedding DJ I naturally take every opportunity to promote my services but I am regularly asked to recommend Wedding Bands. Here are my top five!

1. Perfect Day

2. The Camembert Quarter

3. MixTape

4. Spring Bread

5. The Kaye Twins

Darragh O'Dea is the breakfast show presenter on KFM and has 25 years experience as a wedding DJ. 

Experience is my Business Card - KFM’s Breakfast show host Darragh O’Dea

Experience is my Business Card - KFM’s Breakfast show host Darragh O’Dea

Irelands best DJ

Experience Is My Business Card

My obsession with music started when I was a young kid. I was lucky enough to get a stint at a local Pirate Radio Station when I was fifteen and I played songs that still work for me today. That is the beautiful and bizarre thing about music. If you get to know your crowd and invest in the audience anything can happen.

Being a wedding DJ in Ireland is profoundly more than simply playing music. It's creating a backdrop for memories that will quite literally last a lifetime. It's knowing that there is no such thing as a “wedding play-list”. My experience has shown and taught me to create something unique every single time.

I’ve been a DJ for over twenty five years and have navigated my way from a time where music was simply radio. You had to listen live, buy (and read) the magazines and take every morsel of advice from your elders gratefully. They knew what would work because they had the experience. Experience that couldn't be bought or sold. It was gold.

Irelands Premier Wedding DJ

When I play an 80's DJ set I am right back there. At 80's nights I am once again transported. It worked for me then and it's working for us now. It's a spectacular thing to be part of and when it works it works. My experience has taught me to thrive on that energy.

When I play a 90's DJ set I am transported back to my time as a DJ on the Canary Islands. It was 1992 and the world would physically stop turning if “Rhythm Is A Dancer” was not played a minimum of four times. You can't “learn” those memories. It's an instinctive and genuine thing. I am right back there remembering what worked and seeing it work again so beautifully!

As a DJ It is no longer acceptable to “not have a song”. We are now the spotify generation. Every song, era & mood is available at a second's notice. For couples who wed in their late 20's/early 30's Mark McCabe Maniac 2000 is an institution. It's a right of passage and probably the biggest song in Irish Music History. A time machine of memories, mistakes and everything that represented ones teenage years! I recently played at a wedding where a band member asked me about the song as he had never heard it before. I thought he was joking and It stopped me in my tracks! (no pun intended)

As a wedding DJ you have to entertain and please a large group of people in no more than sixty songs. You've an eight year old flower girl and ninety year old Auntie Breda. Every single guest is worthy and deserving of an amazing experience. My experience has taught me to weed through the junk and PLAY THE HITS. It's the simplest strategy and a formula for success but sometimes it can be lost in an oblivion of panic and preparation. Every single crowd is different and you often have to change your plans, shake things up and alter accordingly. It's a gut feeling and a momentary instinct that arrives when you look at that room of people. A room of unique people who have united to celebrate the most important day in the life of someone that they love. Play the hits and make them happy.

Sometimes the dance floor clears. It happens. The temptation to panic and question everything is very real. It happens for a lot of DJs. I've reached a point in my career where I pride myself on reading the crowd and the clientèle. If it doesn't work then you very quickly provide something that does. The dance floor begins to populate once again and you know you're doing your job. That feeling is electrifying!

Irelands Best wedding DJ

I have twenty five years experience in this wonderful industry but I am constantly learning something new. Weddings, music and people are complex topics individually. Throw them all together and you have a lot of things to consider. I recently played at a wedding and instantly knew that a song (Buddy Joe) would transport the wedding couple and their friends right back to their youth. I also knew that this kind of song, and indeed set, simply wouldn't work on the night of their wedding. It would have been lost in the company of the more mature guests and friends and family of the couple. Day 2 of the wedding brought more celebrations and felt to be the perfect time for this genre. It became a thirty minute set and the feedback from the couple was amazing. It brought the bride, groom and all of their friends right back to their teenage years and the atmosphere was out of this world.

Just a week later I played at the wedding of a more Indie/Alternative couple. Their music choices were far from mainstream but they wanted to please everyone at the same time. We found a way to merge the two and it resulted in brilliantly happy wedding guests and a bride and group who still experienced the tunes that brought them back to their college days. We made it happen and it was my experience that gave me the confidence to make that promise.

My experience as a wedding DJ in Ireland is my business card. Like any artist I've dedicated my life and time to perfecting my skill. I respect the responsibility that comes with the job and I've spent my days fine tuning my craft. I've grown in an industry that has become so saturated and “tick the box”. Experience is my tool kit. It's the bag of tricks that makes me 100% confident that your wedding will be everything you have dreamt about and more. It will be “that” wedding that people talk about time and time again. We've got this!

Choosing the right venue

Choosing the right venue

When it comes to planning a wedding the 2 most important things to consider first is the date and the location for your wedding.

Sometimes the date and venue do not suit each other. Sometimes the venue you want calls out to you as being perfect for your special day and you move the date to suit.

Before you go and book the photographer, makeup, hair, DJ, and go searching for that perfect dress or suit you need to book the date and venue first.

I have had plenty of experience over the years in having the distinct privilege in playing in some lovely venues. Now I will say that my suggestions are by no means exhaustive and even sometimes I don’t think that I can’t do it justice by taking a snapshot at 5 venues around Ireland of what I consider to be perfect wedding location.

1. Bellingham Castle

Located just outside of Dundalk in Castlebellingham this exclusive wedding venue it picture perfect from the entrance to the reception room and garden area. I would 100% have this on your list of venues to look at for your 2018 wedding.

2.Tankerdstown House.

Just outside the town of Slane, County Meath. This venue opened its orangery a few years ago and caters to so many great weddings. The main reception room is perfect for small and big weddings as well as a terraced area outside and ample bar room. If you look through some of my past weddings you will see some great pictures of Tankerdstown.


As you can see there are some lovely venues in Ireland and only mentioning 2 is only giving you a brief snapshot that hopefully will help with your decision in picking the perfect venue for your wedding day. If you have a location in mind and want an honest unbiased opinion please get in touch, chances are I have been there over the last couple of years. This is just the first in so many exciting steps in the preparation of your wedding day so make it a great decision.



Wedding Entertainment

Wedding Entertainment

When it comes to every wedding, your guests will remember some key points about your special day.

1.   The bride’s wedding dress

2.   The Meal

3.   The entertainment

So when it comes to the entertainment, picking the right band or right DJ can really make your day stand out and have your guests talking about it for days, weeks and even months afterwards. However picking the wrong band or DJ can have your guests talking for all the wrong reasons.

There are a number of things that every bride and groom can do to make your wedding day the very best day of your lives from first dance to last dance. It is a very easy process but one that everybody can learn from.

1. Research. Research. Research!

Talk to bands and DJs at weddings that you may be a guest at. Talk to your friends about the last wedding they were at and what they remember about the entertainment.

2. Time

Give yourself plenty of time to book the entertainment that you want.  Just like hotels, photographers and other industry suppliers, most great bands and DJs are booked well in advance.

3. Questions

Talk to your chosen entertainment and ask as many questions as you want. Always be sure the decision you make is the right fit for you. Never be afraid to ask for references, look online for independent reviews and try and go and see your preferred entertainer in action. Please try and see them perform at 2-3 different weddings as music choices can vary from wedding to wedding. Remember, the music played can be unique to each bride and groom and not suit your particular tastes.

4. Knowledge

Experience will shine through every time so when you talk to your preferred entertainer their knowledge will show you whether they are the right fit for your wedding day.

5. Know what you are getting

Always confirm times, music preferences and any additional services that you may require for your special day.

6. Record

Book, pay your deposit and confirm everything by email to ensure a trail in the event of a disagreement.

Although you can check all entertainers out top to bottom, don’t let your personal taste influence the night too much, Remember...

“You are paying to hire a professional to entertain your guests."

The right performer will know what to do and when to do it, this will make your wedding night stand out, and there is no better compliment than hearing the next day “god I never danced so much”, or being asked by your friends “who played at your wedding?”.

As much as I take the chance to promote myself, I do get asked about some of the great bands that I have worked with over the years. So I would like to take this chance to tell you about the top 5 bands that I have had the chance and somewhat privilege to work with over the years.

1.   Perfect Day

2.   The Camembert Quartet

3.   MixTape

4.   Spring Break

5.   The Kaye Twins

Darragh O’Dea is the breakfast show presenter on KFM and has  25 years wedding experience djing at weddings.